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    HomeEcosystem NewsOrca, Founded by Former Stitch Engineers, Lands Pre-Seed Funding to Expand Fraud...

    Orca, Founded by Former Stitch Engineers, Lands Pre-Seed Funding to Expand Fraud Prevention Platform

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     Orca, a South African startup focused on combating the growing fraud epidemic in emerging markets, has secured $550,000 in pre-seed funding. The round was led by pan-African VC firm Norrsken22, with participation from First Circle Capital, Musha Ventures, Kara Ventures, and other angel investors.

    Founded in January 2024 by Thalia Pillay and Carla Wilby, both former software engineers at Stitch, Orca is developing a suite of tools to empower fraud analysts and compliance officers in combating financial fraud. This effort is crucial in light of rising fraud rates in South Africa and other emerging markets, driven by the increasing use of mobile money and e-wallets. Pillay’s extensive experience, including roles at Investec Bank, Aerobotics, and Stitch, alongside Wilby’s background, which includes founding the Ed-Tech platform Zomila, underscores their deep understanding of the challenges in both the banking and fintech sectors. Their combined expertise aims to create innovative solutions to address the inadequacies of current fraud prevention systems and adapt to emerging fraud trends.

    In recent years, South Africa has become a prime target for cyberattacks, ranking as the most cyber-attacked country in Africa and third globally in 2021, according to an Interpol report. Fraud incidents in the market have also surged by 600% between 2018 and 2022, as reported by the Southern African Fraud Prevention Service (SAFPS).

    Orca aims to tackle this issue head-on by providing tailored fraud prevention solutions that cater specifically to the African market. “We have seen the quantum and complexity of fraud challenges faced by emerging market banks and fintechs, specifically in Africa, as they scale to provide increased financial inclusion. Orca is building a fraud prevention solution that is tailored for the African market,” said Nivesh Pather of Norrsken22.

    The startup’s all-female founding team is a notable rarity in the tech world, both in Africa and globally. This is a significant achievement considering that only 1% of funding into African tech startups between 2019 and 2022 went to female-only founded teams, according to data from Africa: The Big Deal.

    Thalia Pillay, CEO and co-founder of Orca, expressed her enthusiasm for the strategic investors on board and emphasized the company’s commitment to building a diverse cap table that reflects its growth plans.

    The pre-seed funding will be used to develop bespoke fraud prevention tools and expand the company’s all-female team. Orca’s mission to create a safer financial landscape in emerging markets through innovative technology is a promising step forward in the fight against fraud.

    Norrsken22, headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, is a leading pan-African venture capital firm investing in early-stage startups with high growth potential, supported by teams in Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa. First Circle Capital, based in Morocco, specializes in providing growth funding to early-stage African tech companies. Musha Ventures, headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, focuses on pre-seed and seed stage tech startups across Africa. Kara Ventures, based in France, targets early-stage startups with significant social and environmental impact potential.

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